During his speech at Cairo University on June 4th, President Barack Obama laid out plans for some of the partnership projects he hoped to initiate during his Presidency, projects that would engage and benefit both the U.S. and various Islamic-majority countries.
Among them, Mr. Obama suggested a summit for business leaders, foundations and entrepreneurs from the U.S. and Muslim communities around the world:
"On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world."
On November 23rd, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dennis Hightower announced at a press conference that, as a direct follow-up to the promise he made in Cairo, President Obama will host a 2-day Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in the spring of 2010.
The proposed summit represents an opportunity to highlight and support business and social entrepreneurship in Muslim majority countries, said Deputy Secretary Hightower: " What we hope to accomplish through such a summit is really to seek to join existing efforts, and inspire new efforts, to promote entrepreneurship and innovation."
Some 150 entrepreneurs from around the world will be invited to participate. They will represent their home countries, regions, sectors, and communities at the summit.
Deputy Secretary Hightower says the summit offers a unique opportunity to find areas of common interest that could draw the entrepreneurial community together around a business paradigm.
After all, said Deputy Secretary Hightower, "Good business is good business no matter where you do it ... as long as there is a mutuality of interest and opportunity."